The food lover understands discord. We seek out skilled chefs who can craft harmonious dishes built from disparate flavors. We marvel at the balance of savory and sweet (fatty piece of earthy foie gras glazed with a crackling caramel glaze), earthy and acidic (a perfect oyster topped with a spoonful of a red-wine and shallot vinaigrette), and salty and sweet (a butterscotch pudding finished with Maldon sea salt).
So then, why is it this food lover gets so confused by the existence of dissonant emotions? Why can’t I feel comfortable with a moment of joy during a moment of crisis? Why shouldn’t I feel a simple happiness during a grief-stricken moment?
I understand how opposing flavors can be compelling and intriguing. But when it comes to holding opposing emotions—fear and excitement, joy and pain, grief and happiness—at the same exact moment, I start to question the validity of my experience. How can I smile when someone I love wants nothing more than to die?
Can we accept the existence of problems—major and minor alike–and still accept the joy, happiness, and pleasures that come our way?
Thanks to an epiphany about acceptance, I’m starting to think the answer is yes.
Life is bittersweet, salty, tart, and lots of other things in between. There’s room for joy and pain in the same instant.
Now that I’m back home from Food Blog Camp, I’m faced with the actual realities of life. My job needs attention. A close family member is in crisis. The house needs to be cleaned. My family is full of fear, uncertainty, and a whole range of emotions as we join together to try to help overcome the emergency. A friend reaches out for help and support. The car needs gas.
When my husband made me this turkey burger with Mahon and ripe persimmon, yesterday I swooned. For a moment the sea of sadness and fear parted and in its place I was given joy, excitement, and happiness for all the beautiful things I have in my life.
There on the plate, my husband proved to me that disparate things—a savory burger with a sweet and ripe persimmon, or the feeling of deep sadness and extreme joy—can exist together without canceling each other out.
Any food lover can tell you that complexity is what makes a dish truly great. Why shouldn’t that be true of life?
Thyme Turkey Burger with Ripe Hachiya Persimmon
I never heard of persimmons until I moved to Los Angeles, so it took me a while to learn the magical ways of this gorgeous variety of fruit. The delicate Hachiya Persimmon is best enjoyed when extremely ripe—it should feel like a water balloon when it’s ready to be eaten. Slice it and serve it a top this burger. Eat the rest with a spoon or put it in a shake for a midday snack!
Serves 2-3 (depending on how big you like your burger)
¾ lb ground turkey (dark meat has the most flavor)
½ teaspoon fresh thyme
1 small onion, grated (take the skin off first!)
1 ripe Hachiya Persimmon, sliced
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Maldon Sea salt
Serving Suggestions: Mahon, Whole Grain Mustard, La Brea Bakery Sunflower and Honey bread (or your favorite bread or bun of your choosing)
Mix the thyme, grated onion, and an egg into the ground turkey. Form in to 2 or three burgers. Season the outside of the burgers with salt and pepper. Cook in a heated skillet for 8-15 minutes (approximately 4 minutes per side) depending on the depth of your patties. Turn as little as possible. When the burger is cooked all the way through (slice into the burger to test the done-ness or check with a thermometer), add a slice of Mahon, turn off the heat and cover the frying pan to melt the cheese.
Toast the bread (I prefer one slice for an open face sandwich) slather with whole grain mustard. Top with the burger and then a slice of the ripe persimmon. Sprinkle the Hachiya persimmon slice with a pinch of Maldon. Serve!